Bouncy Weather, Chasing Wild Geese

The predominant mood has been spring rain – drizzle, fog, shifting mists – the kind of thing I call “mountain weather.” I happen to love it, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. This morning was a little different, with a bit of grapply sleet. There was enough to turn the roof white, and it was cold enough that some of the sleet on the roof persisted until noon, although it turned back to drizzle shortly after 8:00 AM.

We went on a literal wild goose chase this morning, to see if we could find the Greater White Fronted Goose and the Lesser Yellowlegs that were reported yesterday on the GABO list. There was nothing doing, which is what usually happens when I go looking for a bird I’m especially interested in. I’ve only seen one Yellowlegs, and that was in the early 80s, from a duck blind in northern Indiana. I wanted to see another one, but that will be another day.

I’m not a very serious birder – there’s too much other interesting stuff out there for me to focus solely on birds. But I do subscribe to the list, in part because sometimes an interesting bird pops up, and sometimes I actually get to see it. But it also helps me keep track of the migration, which helps me because it gives me an idea what to look out for, and when to keep a sharper eye for things that might be coming through. For example, for the past few weeks, the list has lit up with reports of Sandhill Cranes coming through Atlanta. Most of them follow the I-75 corridor north, but you never know. I have seen them occasionally in Fannin County. Since I have some ties to Indiana, I also subscribe to their list, in part because some of the birds that come through here end up there, and vice versa in the fall. (Yes, I know there’s eBird, and since it comes with my membership in Indiana Audubon, I use it sometimes. But I find it much more helpful to have the alerts come to my cell phone in real time by email than to continually monitor eBird.)

You don’t have to be an expert birder to subscribe and enjoy it, as long as you keep your mouth shut. I mostly stay off of it, and listen to the expert birders talk to each other. (If you post something dumb, you’re going to hear about it, usually politely, but sometimes no so politely. Usually in a private email, in which case it seems customary to eat crow and correct yourself in another post. But sometimes on the list itself, like the poor guy up in Indiana who recently posted that he had heard an out-of-season bird call near his feeder, only to have to quickly admit that he didn’t see the starlings that were imitating it behind his hedge.)

Here’s a link to the page where you can find the link to subscribe.

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